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Baldwin mentioned for Nevada job

November 30, 2016

Once again, the football coaching carrousel is spinning close to Cheney.

It’s become an annual affair for Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin, whose name came up again this week as Nevada looks to replace Brian Polian.

“It’s just stuff that happens every year,” Baldwin said Tuesday as the Eagles prepared for Saturday’s second-round FCS playoff game against Central Arkansas.

Whether or not Baldwin is interested in the job, fans and media have put his name near the top of a short list to replace Polian, who was fired on Sunday after four years.

Within hours of Polian’s firing, Baldwin was getting support from ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg, the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper and from fans on various forums.

One of the most successful coaches in FCS, Baldwin is 94-32 in his ninth season at Eastern, and he’s won five Big Sky Conference titles in the last seven years. His name has been linked to several coaching vacancies over the years, most recently Oregon State in 2014.

Asked whether the Nevada job held any appeal, Baldwin deflected the question.

“It’s flattering when your name is out there, but I stay away from getting much into it except for focusing what’s ahead of us,” Baldwin said.

The Nevada job could hold some attraction for the 46-year-old Baldwin. Reno is located near the strong recruiting grounds in California, the program has a newly renovated 25,000-seat stadium and has a tradition of success.

Baldwin also could expect to double his salary, which currently is about $220,000 annually. Polian’s base was $585,000 with almost $100,000 in incentives.

On the other hand, Nevada has the lowest football budget in the Mountain West Conference and lacks an indoor practice facility, which hurts recruiting. Also, Nevada has seen declining attendance in recent years; the season ticket base fall from a record 12,783 in 2013 to 9,751 this year - a drop of 23.7 percent.

The other top candidates are Louisville offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis, who was born in Reno and coached high school ball in northern Nevada; Washington State running backs coach Jim Mastro, an assistant at Nevada for 11 years who also worked with legendary coach Chris Ault; and Maryland defensive coordinator Andy Buh, a former Wolf Pack player and defensive coordinator.

Klenakis is considered the favorite, but he might have to take a pay cut to return to Reno.

Of the four, Baldwin is the only one with college head coaching experience.

Earlier on Tuesday, the sports editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote on Twitter that a reliable source said Mastro would go to UNR if Klenakis was named head coach. However, Mastro told The Spokesman-Review later on Tuuesday that he has no interest in the Nevada jb.

Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth is leading the national search.